Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

Hold the Press…Hot News…….

Thankyou Header The holidays are officially upon us. It's the time when Parliament goes into recess and the country can get on with life free from the Westminster Village machinations.

Officially known as the silly season, when the newspapers and other media struggle to find stories to tickle their reader’s fancies and when the true hacks wander aimlessly from their drunken stupors seeking to justify their existence.

This summer recess may be different however. The hacks in question have found themselves in the same food chain as estate agents and ambulance chasing lawyers, and even the term "hack" has an extremely negative connotation. Hacks hack, and hacking is synonymous with underhand and illegal spying.

Before the days of cell-phones, smart-phones, i-pads et al, the poor old hack had to tramp the streets in his gabardine and trilby seeking out salacious juicy stories and hopefully a local pub would be nearby where he could ply the barflies with a few drinks to garner some rumour or gossip. Indeed, they may even have blagged their way into information pretending to be someone else.

Outrageous I hear you call! The News of the World, that bastion of red-top sanctimonious hypocrisy, managed to dig the dirt for 160 years with these methods. Unfortunately technology was the death knell for it. So easy did it become to spy on people’s phones, that it became the norm. No one was spared; everyone was potential game – from royalty, to politicians, to celebrities and Joe Public. The technology was their playground.

The NotW may be the sacrificial lamb. The knives are out for the patriarchal owner Rupert Murdoch. It is the measure of a ruthless father to sacrifice his first born to save the siblings.

Murdock closed the News of the World with clinical precision. It was his first UK newspaper, but there is no room for nostalgia or sentiment in business. 200 people lost their jobs – a blip amongst a global workforce of 45,000. What would one expect from the man who destroyed Fleet Street and moved the whole industry to Wapping and took the printing unions face-on? His timing was impeccable.

Had not the unions suffered an even greater defeat earlier when they took on Maggie Thatcher during the miners strikes? If Maggie could defeat Scargill, then he could exploit the fallout.

From a small Australian town he systematically expanded his empire to become the biggest and most influential media baron in history. It's unlikely he shivered much at the UK Parliamentary Committee of Culture, Media and Sport for all his perceived fragility. But perhaps he was sincere when he said he was humbled. One man's humility is another man's weakness. Rupert Murdoch may be many things, but he's not weak.

Meanwhile the vultures are circling and carcasses lay prostrate. Rupert Murdoch is a US citizen. He didn't have to turn up to be questioned, but whatever he is, he's a fighter.

Such was his power he influenced public opinion and politicians pandered to him. He may now say that the NoTW is only 1% his business, but that paper, together with the Sun was the biggest selling Sunday rag in Britain, and the Sun was the biggest selling daily. If those papers decided to follow a particular agenda, you can bet they influenced the outcome.

Whether by design or accident, the Murdoch media became a conduit for politicians to pander too. Such was their power they could make or break an individual or cause. They took the barometer of a nation, and used it for their own mercenary purpose.

If the nation was horrified because a paedophile was on the loose, they would catch the mood and lobby parliament. If Soldiers fighting in Afghanistan were short of equipment, they would do likewise. They would catch the mood and that was their success. The readers didn't care who owned the paper, they just thought the paper was on their wavelength.

That was News International’s success. The Times was their legitimacy, but it was a loss maker which they propped up to maintain credibility.

Yet all of this boils down to business. Underhand and illegal practices should be justly condemned and those which perpetrated them should be prosecuted. But the culture which created it, the sycophantic behaviour of our elected representatives who feared it, the police who acquiesced to it, the payments which encouraged it, and the level of endemic complacency which tolerated it, is a cancer which fermented in a country which prided itself on its freedoms and justice.

There isn't really much left for the United Kingdom to shout about, but dignity, pride, incorruptibility, freedom and democracy were just five things which set it apart.

All have taken a knock – but don't blame the Murdoch press for that, they merely exploited the systematic weak successive governments which lost not only their sense of direction, but the moral compass which guided them.

 

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July 20, 2011 - Posted by | Current Affairs, Events, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. In today’s time nobody gives two figs about morality and standing up for what you believe in? In fact the complete opposite, which simply means. Anything goes. How sad?

    Like

    Comment by Spook | July 20, 2011 | Reply

  2. That page is great, I really like it !!!

    Like

    Comment by Muebles | July 21, 2011 | Reply


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